Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Get a Taste of History this Winter

Though the temperatures are dropping, that doesn't mean you can't add some history to your schedule. Two of your Monmouth County Park System's historic sites are open throughout the year. Experiencing history, especially local history, offers a valuable look view of where we came from and how life and the community has evolved over time.

Historic Longstreet Farm

Step back in time with the sights and sounds (and smells!) of rural Monmouth County in the late 19th century. Nestled within Holmdel Park on Longstreet Road in Holmdel, Historic Longstreet Farm is staffed with historic interpreters who spend their days working the farm as it was done in the 1890s. Daily and seasonal chores demonstrate the various agricultural and domestic activities that were necessary to any working farm of this time period. From milking the cows to feeding the livestock, planting the vegetables to cleaning the animal stalls, our farm staff does it all, giving visitors the feeling of being sent back in time if only for a short while.

The site is maintained as a living historical farm with the purpose of interpreting the agricultural activities in Monmouth County's rural past. This interpretation includes the breeds of animals and crops raised at this site in the 1890's. For your safety, as well as the safety of the animals, we ask that you do not touch or feed the animals. As a general precaution when leaving this site, you are encouraged to wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. For further information about the Farm's livestock, click here.

Open daily, year round from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., visitors may enter at their leisure free of charge. (Please note that pets are not allowed within the farm.) On any given day you're sure to see the staff working the farm, but other activities and demonstrations are also available as well. The Farmhouse is open for tours on weekends and holidays, March through December, from 12-3:30 p.m. or by reservation (for reservation information, call 732-946-3758).

Parent/Child Morning Chores is offered from 8-9 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month (excluding October). Open to ages 4 and up, participants assist the staff with milking a cow, collecting eggs from the chickens, and feeding the livestock. This program meets at the Visitor Center and costs $15 per parent/child pair, $5 each additional participant (cash or check only please). Participants should dress for the weather and wear closed-toe shoes.

Free December drop-ins at Longstreet Farm include the following:

  • Blacksmith Demonstration - During your visit to the farm, head to the Blacksmith's workshop to see this skill in action from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, December 9.
  • Christmas Candymaking Demonstration - On Saturday, December 8 from 1-3 p.m. Brandy McCann will demonstrate the art of candy making, creating tasty chocolate delicacies and other sweet treats from the 1890s Fannie Farmer's cookbook.
  • The Sounds of Christmas from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, December 9. Celebrate the holidays with a visit to the beautiful Longstreet farmhouse where you can enjoy the wistful music of Larry Moser and Mary Nagin as they play Christmas carols on the hammered dulcimer and fiddle.
  • Christmas Sing-Along from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday, December 15. Rick Garland will be playing the piano in the Longstreet farmhouse for an old-fashioned sing-along.
  • Visit with Santa on Saturday & Sunday, December 22 & 23 from 12-3 p.m. Enjoy an old-fashioned Victorian Christmas where children can visit with Santa and then take a walk to the farmhouse to have a cup of hot cider. Be sure to bring your camera to capture this memorable visit!
For more upcoming winter activities at Historic Longstreet Farm, visit our website

Historic Walnford

Tucked away in westernmost Monmouth County and within the heart of Crosswicks Creek Park, Historic Walnford is filled with fascinating history throughout the year. Once home to the Waln family, the site offers a look into both the family and the evolution of Walnford over two centuries - from an 18th century industrial village and family farm to an elegant country estate. Visit the large, elegant home built in 1774 and farm buildings set in a picturesque landscape. The site is open from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily, and the historic buildings are open to the public from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily.

Free December drop-ins at Historic Walnford include the following:
  • Sleigh Selfies from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday & Sunday, December 1 & 2. We'll have our decorative red sleigh and a selection of historical hats and bonnets ready for your selfies. Create a charming Currier & Ives style image to share for the holidays! (Please, no professional photographers.)
  • Samplers: Historical Documents Written with Needle and Thread from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, December 9. View local 18th and 19th century samplers from a private collection. This special show and tell afternoon will include what has been learned about the young women who created the samplers and share the progress of the carefully executed stitches recreating an 18th century Waln family sampler.
For more upcoming winter drop-in activities at Historic Walnford, visit our website

Questions? Call our Park System information staff at 732-842-4000, ext. 4312, or email us at

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Hey...Who is That?

I am always hoping to see a rare or unusual bird, and migration season is a good time to be on the lookout. An experienced birder once told me that a good place to spot an uncommon bird is within a flock of migrating, common birds. So, every spring and fall I get out my binoculars and scan flocks of Canada Geese, Brant, Starlings, Cowbirds and more. This past week I got lucky! A flock of sleeping Rudy Ducks caught my eye and, as I scanned through them, someone looked different - a little bigger than the rest.

I pulled out the binoculars and sure enough, there was a stranger with the flock! I took a few photos to use once I got home and could pull out my bird book. Bingo! A Eurasian Widgeon. A new bird for my life list and an uncommon visitor to Monmouth County.

Eurasian Widgeons are native to Europe and Asia, migrating seasonally between the two. While there are rare sightings of these beautiful birds in North America each year, they are not considered native to the New World and there have been no record of them breeding here. There have been some reported cases of them interbreeding with American Widgeons. The Eurasian Widgeons seen here are likely from eastern Siberia or Iceland. There are only three species of widgeon in the world, the Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope), the American Wigeon (M. americana) and the ChiloĆ© Widgeon (M. sibilatrix). The males of all three are very colorful while only the females of the ChiloĆ© Widgeon are also. They are dabbling ducks, eating from the bottom of shallow water by tipping their heads down rather than diving. Therefore, a good place to look for widgeons is along the edges of shallow water.

The next time you are able to observe a flock of migrating birds, scan the flock. Look for an individual that is slightly larger or smaller, has different color feet, or just looks different than the others. You might get lucky and spot a new bird for your life list!

Story and Photos by Park System Naturalist Ruth Carll
For more nature happenings in the parks, be sure to check out the Nature Now page on our website.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Thompson Park Day is Coming!

Celebrate the changing of the seasons at this year’s Thompson Park Day! This Monmouth County Park System tradition offers everything an autumn event should: pumpkin painting, arts & crafts, kids' races, entertainment and much more! Best of all, it’s a chance for families to acquaint themselves with the year round charms of Thompson Park, a perfect place to for hiking, running, canoeing and other outdoor activities. All are invited to attend this family-friendly tradition and to stroll through the sights, sounds and smells of autumn. Held from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, October 14 at Thompson Park, 805 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, Thompson Park Day is the quintessential fall event! 


Canoeing: Grab a paddle and hit the water in one of our canoes. Thompson Park's Marlu Lake is the perfect place to enjoy a paddle. All equipment is provided; canoeing will be weather permitting. (free)

Pumpkin Painting: Pumpkin painting is a great way to get into the Halloween spirit! This activity is great for all ages and simple enough for even the youngest in the family. (Two tickets are required for this activity.)

Pie Eating Contests: Bring your competitive spirit and your appetite! Adults and children chow down on delicious pumpkin pies while the stopwatch runs. Will you win the contest or even set a Thompson Park Day record?

Strut Your Mutt:
Think you have the cutest or spookiest dog in Monmouth County? Here's your chance to prove it. The Friends of the Parks' annual Strut Your Mutt Canine Halloween costume contest has become a popular event for dog owners to show off their creative talents, celebrate their pets, and share in the fun with other dog owners! The four-legged competitors are judged in
categories for funniest, scariest, prettiest, most original, and best canine/human combo. (Registration and fee of $15 required.)

Scarecrow Contest: Make the season extra special by building your own scarecrow! The Park System provides the framework and stuffing; you supply the face, outer covering (clothes, etc.), and imagination. Prizes will be awarded and the scarecrow is yours to take home. (Registration and fee of $12 required.)

But these are only a few of the fun activities you can enjoy. We'll also have Zany Zombies, archery, rides, the climbing wall, a photo booth, Golfzilla (weather dependent), mini golf, nature activities, grab & go ceramics, and so much more. Some activities may require purchase of tickets and/or a wristband. Check our website for full details. 

Theatre Barn Stage Entertainment

Kids on the Block Puppet Show is scheduled from 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m., this educational puppet show helps children learn about disabilities, as well as broader themes of friendship, community-building, the importance of expressing feelings, and celebrating differences.

The “It’s the Wolf!” Puppet Show at 1:15 p.m. is an interactive puppet production. Straw, sticks, bricks, and a huffing and puffing Big Bad Wolf bring hilarity and mayhem in this adaptation of the classic story, The Three Little Pigs.

The Curse of the Silver Pearl Swashbuckling Spooktacular at 2:45 p.m. is a pirate variety magic show starring Boot Buckle Bob pirate extraordinaire and offers skull juggling, plank walking hilarity, egg tossing vanishes, music and plenty of audience participation and laughs! Arghhhh you ready?

The Little Rockers Band from 4:15-5 p.m. brings a fun, fresh way to introduce your children to music. The Little Rockers Band is a popular local group that introduces music in a variety of ways.

To learn more about Thompson Park Day or other Park System activities, please visit or call the Park System at 732-842-4000. For persons with hearing impairment, the Park System TTY/TDD number is 711. The Monmouth County Park System, created in 1960 by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, is Monmouth County’s Open Space, Parks, and Recreation agency.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Explore & Discover Your Park System Trails

When you hear the word “trail” what comes to mind? Is it a winding dirt path under towering trees, or a wide paved path alongside a winding river or pond?

The National Recreation and Park Association conducted a survey among 1,005 adult Americans, and 36% stated they use a trail for hiking, running or walking. That’s one in three Americans visiting their local parks with friends, family members or pets to destress.

Monmouth County is truly a great place to live, being recognized as having one of the most beautiful park systems throughout New Jersey. As residents, we cherish our trails as the perfect balance between land and sea. These trails offer simple strolls along ocean, forest and river views, while others take you over isolated valleys. Some are easy and moderate flat paths, and others are more difficult taking you up and down hills; you pick your path!

Whether you’re running, walking or biking, Park System trails are ideal places to learn about and practice healthy lifestyles; connect with nature, history and culture; and relax in a setting removed from the noise and distractions of daily life. More importantly, spending time outdoors grants future generations the gift of learning to appreciate and enjoy nature. Being on trails allows children to step away from screens and get outdoors to use their imagination. Above all, it becomes a fun way for families to get fresh air, exercise and explore the great outdoors together.

Choosing a trail can be the most overwhelming part of getting outdoors. The Monmouth County Park System has over 16,000 acres of land and 139 miles of trails. That’s a lot of area to cover! It's important to find a trail that is best suited to your age and level of fitness. Here are some of the most popular trails in Monmouth County that inspire us to get out and discover:
  • If you haven’t been to Hartshorne Woods Park, you’re missing out on the best hiking and biking trails near the shore! A true Monmouth County favorite, Hartshorne Woods is a hilly, forested 787-acre site with over 14 miles of extensive trails for all levels, some of which offer amazing views of the Navesink River. 
  • Holmdel Park has a reputation as it is the site of a variety of cross country meets. The shady woods and rolling hills are the perfect setting for exploring over nine miles of trails. Be forewarned of “The Bowl” which has become infamous throughout the running community. While on this section of the trail, one first descends down around this long hill. Then, after the last turn, one travels up a steep 150-foot incline. It's the perfect challenge for the seasoned runner.
  • Tatum Park features over six miles of trails through rolling hills and open fields where you're sure to spot a variety of species of birds. Run or walk through the winding paths that take you through the oak forest and meadows of tulip trees. 
  • The scenic Manasquan Reservoir is popular for its five mile loop trail offering excellent views of wetlands, wooded forests and wildflower meadows. The area is home to 200 species of birds, including a Bald Eagle nesting pair. A favorite for all ages, the trail is wide and flat enough for strollers, bicyclists and horseback riders. 
  • The beautiful 988-acre, family-oriented Shark River Park has become a staple through the seasons. Nine miles of trails pass through several habitats, including a coastal river and floodplain, gravel-capped sandy hills, a cedar swamp, and several sphagnum bogs. 
But these are only a few of the trails that will get you discovering the outdoors. Learn about all the Monmouth County Park System trails so you can get out an explore all year round.

Now that we’ve shared some of our best trails with you, we’d love to hear from you! Tell us about your favorite trails and share photos with us of your adventures on our Facebook page. We'll see you in the parks!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Family Fun in the Parks

August is Family Fun Month and your Monmouth County Park System has plenty of activities that will guarantee a great time for the whole family. The month of August typically signifies the last few weeks of summer before kids return to school. But in between the back to school shopping, families must take the time to enjoy what’s left of summer days (and nights).

It is universally known that parents encourage behaviors in their children. According to a PBS article, “Children are watching their parents’ every move, mirroring their every action; if parents are sedentary, there is a good chance their children will be too.” The article goes on to state: “However, parents who eat healthily and exercise with their children on a regular basis are teaching them many valuable lessons.”

August is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors at any of your Monmouth County parks! The temperatures are still toasty, the days are long, and the kids are ready to enjoy nature as much as they can before going back to school. So what is there for families to do when they want to break free from their routines? Go for a hike, have a picnic at the park, spend the afternoon kayaking, or ride your bikes through new scenery. Enjoy the beautiful summer weather while it lasts and go outdoors for some fresh air. You can even pick an activity and start a new family tradition. It doesn’t matter if your time together is extravagant or simple; it's all about spending quality time together and making lasting family memories. If you’re a selfie taker, use the hashtags #FamilyFunMonth and #MonmouthCountyParks to encourage others to join in the fun!

Check out these family activities that will help you celebrate Family Fun Month:

Superb Summer Saunter on Friday, August 10 from 10-11:30 a.m. With summer rearing to go, our parks are teeming with all sorts of animal and plant life. At the Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, engage your curiosity as you get some fresh air and explore the open trails with a Park System Naturalist  as your guide to teach you about the plants and critters you see along the way.

Starry Night Hike on Saturday, August 25 from 8-9 p.m. On a clear night at Freneau Woods Park get out your telescope and do a little family stargazing! Don’t have a telescope? No problem! Join our Park System Naturalists as you hike the forests, meadows and trails looking for constellations, cloud formations, moon phases, and maybe even a shooting star. You may even hear some bumps in the night, but have no’s probably just a howling coyote, hooting owl, or other nocturnal critter.

Open Shoot Archery on Sunday, August 26 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Take a shot at archery at the Thompson Park Activity Barn! Stop in during open shoot archery to improve your archery skills at our indoor range. This is not an instructional clinic and NOT designed for beginners. Open to ages 10 and up; under 18 with adult. Cost is $10 per person, cash or check only. Questions? Call 732-842-4000, ext. 4312.

Kayak Tours of Swimming River on Tuesday, August 21 from 6-7 p.m. and Wednesday, August 22 from 7-8 p.m. for ages 12 and up (under 18 with adult) at Swimming River Park. Paddle your way down Swimming River during these nature kayak tours. Novice paddlers are welcome. All equipment is provided; both single and tandem kayaks will be available. Program is limited to 12 participants; first come, first served. Cost is $20 per person, cash or check only.

Boat Tours of the Manasquan Reservoir are both fun and educational as well as a great way for families to explore local nature. These 45-minute tours are led by Park System Naturalists and offer a terrific view of the local wildlife, which may include turtles, herons, egrets and our resident Bald Eagles. Tours take place on weekends through September 3 at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. as well as on Wednesdays through August 29 at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Life jackets are required. The cost is $6 per adult and $4 per child 12 and under. Please note that tours are both weather and water level dependent. To confirm boat tour schedule, call 732-751-9453. Boats and kayaks are also available to rent at the Manasquan Reservoir for those who wish to explore on their own.

Safari Backpacks: The Park System offers Safari Backpacks at several of locations: Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown; Huber Woods Environmental Center, Middletown; and Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, Howell. Backpacks contain all your family will need to fill your self-guidance nature walk with adventure and exploration. Safari Backpacks are perfect for exploring the parks in a brand new way.

We look forward to your visit as you explore the parks together this August!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Healthy Living with Golf

If you’re looking for a golf course to play a round with friends or simply work on your drive, you’ve definitely got plenty of options to choose from in Monmouth County. With six public courses made available through your Monmouth County Park System, you could spend more time trying to decide on a course than actually playing! Each year more than 200,000 rounds are played on our courses. Our facilities can accommodate golfers of all skill levels, so whether you’re a beginner, amateur, expert, or somewhere in between, Monmouth County courses provide something for everyone. We offer five championship 18-hole courses, two 18-hole executive courses, a 9-hole, par 3 course, and three warm-up ranges. Learn about them all by clicking here.
"Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated. It satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening - and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind ever invented." - Arnold Palmer
But did you also know that studies show golf could be one of the healthiest activities you can do? There are so many health benefits to playing golf that it would fill the pages of a book versus the limits of this blog post! From a health perspective, golf is the perfect form of exercise, providing a diverse workout and helping to lay the foundations for a more active life. There are numerous ways in which you can keep fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle. However, it just so happens that regularly engaging in a round of golf can offer the same benefits as other forms of exercise! To be good at most sports like football, tennis, basketball, baseball, swimming or athletics, you have to be very strong, fast or physically fit. Not for golf. Golfers come in all shapes and sizes, from youths to seniors. Moreover, it is a low-impact sport that further demonstrates a wide variety of mental and physical health benefits for people of all ages. 

Unlike other intense sports, golf is a game that fosters conversation. In much the same vein, it becomes a great way to spend time with friends and provide opportunities to meet new people. Golf can even be the best form of Ecotherapy, otherwise known as "green exercise" which emphasizes the importance of combining exercise with an outdoor activity. Basking in nature on an 18-hole course provides health benefits for both mind and body. So grab your clubs and play some golf. Your body will thank you!

Various studies have highlighted some ways that heading out for 18 holes can make you healthier:
  • Mental Alertness - Golf is as much a mental game as it is a physical game. The required concentration as you set up your next shot and maintain good form, visualize yourself succeeding, and plot out your strategy sends blood rushing to your brain just as much as walking the course. Golf teaches problem solving and keeps the mind sharp. Clive Ballard, Director of Research at the Alzheimer’s Society, says: “Whether it is going for a jog or walking the golf course, keeping physically active is a great way to keep your heart and your brain healthy. By keeping active you make sure your brain has a good, strong blood supply, which is essential to help it function better now and in the future.” 
  • Provides Stress Relief and Boosts Mood - Aside from the physical benefits, being out and about in a setting as beautiful as a golf course with plenty of fresh air is believed to be able to improve your mental well-being, as well as benefit those suffering with stress or anxiety. A study conducted by the University of Essex found that the pleasure of walking in fresh air with an added mental challenge releases endorphins, the natural mood-enhancing chemicals in your brain, which make you feel happy and relaxed. 
  • Increases Life Expectancy - Want to live your longest, healthiest life? Golf could be the key to longevity. According to the Golf & Health Project, supported by the World Golf Foundation, golf can be expected to decrease the risk of more than 40 chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and colon and breast cancer. 
  • Improves Vitamin D Intake - Vitamin D is an important nutrient that your body is able to synthesize naturally when it’s exposed to sufficient levels of sunlight. Fortunately, the sun is an excellent (and free!) source of vitamin D. During the summer and fall months, playing a round of golf may be an excellent means of ensuring your body can produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D. It has been shown to reduce your risk of cancer, help your bones maintain appropriate calcium levels, boost your immune system, boost your mood, prevent or reduce chronic diseases, and much more. 
  • Weight Loss - Golf is a form of exercise that contributes to healthy weight loss. You’ve probably heard health professionals mention that 10,000 steps per day is the golden number to achieve weight-loss. Berkeley Wellness reported findings from a study that indicated a full 18-hole round easily exceeds the recommendation. Players who choose to ride in a golf buggy rather than walking, or wish to play a shortened round of 9-holes, will still expend more calories than a strenuous, lengthy gym workout!
Not currently a golfer but interested in learning to play? Be sure to check out the Park System's golf lessons available for all levels. 

We'll see you on the greens!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Monmouth County Fair is Coming!

The highlight of the summer has arrived! Organized and presented by the Monmouth County Park System in cooperation with the Monmouth County 4-H, the 44th annual Monmouth County Fair returns to East Freehold Showgrounds on Wednesday-Sunday, July 25-29. Whether it’s a family tradition or your first time visiting, this five-day event offers fun for all ages with musical entertainment, a variety of food vendors, rides, home and garden competitions and exhibits, and so much more!


Sure to delight thrill seekers of all ages! This year's rides are once again provided by Reithoffer
Shows. Two rides areas will be available, one for smaller children's rides and another for the thrill seekers in your family. Wristbands can be purchased every night at a cost of $25 on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and $30 on Friday and Saturday. Single ride tickets will also be available for purchase. Ride wristbands are also available for early-bird purchase on the Reithoffer Shows website for $25; early-bird sales end on July 24. There will also be a variety of fun carnival-style games you can play as well! 


Entertainment has always been a big part of the Fair and this year’s performers promise to deliver! Each day is filled with fun and excitement! There will be plenty of returning favorites that are always a hit with families, such as Bwana Jim’s Wildlife Show where you can catch a glimpse at wild animals such as snakes, alligators, hawks, owls, turtles and more. Be sure to check out Mutts Gone Nuts, featuring everyone’s favorite four-legged pets showcasing their skills, their personalities, and their senses of humor as they complete tricks and jumps. Hell on Wheels BMX Stunt Show also returns this year with an exhilarating performance that's sure to fill spectators with excitement. Other fun and exciting events include Wheel of Destiny, Robinson's Racing Pigs, and Hilby the Skinny German Juggle Boy.

And don’t forget our musical entertainment! The Moroccan Sheepherders kick things off on Wednesday night, performing a mix of classic rock covers and original music at 8:15 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. On Thursday night, vibe out with The Chuck Lambert Band at 8:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. Friday night, be inspired by the young and talented group Musicians on a Mission at 8:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. with a performance that brings awareness and funds for local charitable organizations through planned musical events that showcase New Jersey performers. There are a lot of cover bands out there, but there’s only one that can kick off a Saturday night like the Jimmy Buffet & Friends Tribute Band, scheduled to perform at 8:15 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. Come experience the ViRAGO Music Celtic Trio as they bring the Fair to a close on Sunday with their mix of ethnic melodies and rhythms with original songs at 12 p.m. & 1:45 p.m. 

Vendors & Exhibits

There are plenty of vendors and exhibits to visit during the Monmouth County Fair as well! From shopping to eating, you’ll find a variety of booths. There are over 25 food vendors if you need a bite to eat, so don’t worry there will be plenty to choose from, including our first ever vegan vendor! Be sure to support local Monmouth County businesses at the Made in Monmouth tent where you’ll find an assortment of products made in Monmouth County that may include unique household and decorative items, jewelry, specialty foods and pet accessories. At the Grown in Monmouth booth you’ll learn about this new and exciting program designed to help retain and grow the County’s Agricultural industry. Other highlights include a variety of Monmouth County 4-H exhibits and events such as animal shows, contests, demonstrations and entertainment. The Home & Garden Tent features entries in a variety of competitions from photography to painting, fruits and vegetables to baking, plus daily demonstrations that may spark your interest in learning something new. If you’re a history buff, stop by the Living History Tent and learn about the county’s rich agricultural environment through hands-on activities and demonstrations. 

The Monmouth County Fair is open from 5-11 p.m. on Wednesday-Friday, July 25-27; 3-11 p.m. on Saturday, July 28; and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday, July 29. Admission is $8 per person; children 12 and under are free. For more information about the Fair, visit, or call 732-842-4000, ext. 4312.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Park & Recreation Month: A Lifetime of Discovery

Make every day an adventure in Monmouth County’s beautiful parks this month! This July, the Monmouth County Park System is celebrating Park and Recreation Month, an initiative of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Since 1985, America has celebrated Park and Recreation Month during the month of July to acknowledge the influential impact the parks and recreation services has in organizing and preserving the quality of life for, and contributing to the physical, economic and environmental well-being towards our local parks. 

In this annual monthly celebration the Monmouth County Park System encourages residents to get out and experience the benefits of parks and recreation. From health and wellness to conservation efforts and everything in between! Playgrounds, recreation centers, programs and summer camps are just a few of the things that come to mind when we think of parks and rec. But, parks and recreation are so much more than that. It’s a time for visitors to explore the undiscovered roles of our local parks as we showcase all the exciting things you can experience in your parks. Whichever activity you choose to do, don’t experience it alone. 

Here are some free activities to help you begin your outdoor adventures in the parks this July:
  • Seining Along Sandy Hook Bay - Discover a variety of fish, crabs and other sea creatures as we pull a long seine net along the edge of Sandy Hook Bay at Bayshore Waterfront Park located in Port Monmouth. It will be a fun time for everyone as we find out what lives and swims in the Sandy Hook Bay. This program runs every Monday, Wednesday & Friday from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. this summer through August 24.
  • Tidal Tuesdays - Every Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Fisherman's Cove Conservation Area, Manasquan, take part in activities such as meeting creatures living in the water that we find in our seine net or creating crafts from natural materials found along the shore. Meet at the Activity Center.
  • Independence Day Celebration - Independence Day was a festive time in the 1890s. Patriotism was celebrated with music and games. Join the staff at Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel as they celebrate the holiday with games and contests from 12-3 p.m.!
  • Enviro-Quest - Every Thursday of July offers nature fun at a different park. When you arrive at the scheduled park, follow the Enviro-Quest signs to where our Park System Naturalist awaits. Once there, you'll join in activities, crafts or games for approximately 30-60 minutes of fun. For upcoming dates and locations, click here
  • Roving Naturalist -
    Join our Roving Naturalist on Saturday, July 7 at 9 a.m. and explore Dorbrook Recreation Area in Colts Neck, as we discuss seasonal points of interest, search for signs of wildlife and identify a bird or two. This is a 1.5-2 hour program, however feel free to join in or drop out at any point during the walk. Dress for the weather as light rain is not a deterrent. 
  • Climb Time - Head to Clayton Park Activity Center in Upper Freehold on Saturday, July 14 from 12-4 p.m. to try our 25' rock climbing wall. It’s the perfect way to see if rock climbing is for you! Climbers must be 42” or taller and age 8 or older (under 18 with adult). 
  • The Casual Birder - Join this laid back morning bird walk at Freneau Woods Park, Aberdeen on Thursday, July 19 at 9 a.m. We will meander through the park for about an hour and a half to see what birds we can find. No need to be an expert at identifying birds to enjoy these walks. A limited number of free binoculars will be available on a first come, first served basis. 
These are just some of the excellent options available to visitors this month. For a full listing of what's happening in the parks, view our Calendar of Events. For all upcoming programs this summer, check the current issue of our Parks & Programs Guide

We want to see how you're having fun in your Monmouth County parks this July! Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@MonCountyParks) and share a photo of you and your family and/or friends enjoying the parks! Be sure to use the hashtags #MonmouthCountyParks and #DiscoverJuly to encourage others to support local parks and recreation and to share why they think it's important to explore and discover all the Monmouth County Park System has to offer!

Volunteers assist in keeping the parks well-maintained for our visitors to enjoy.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Even More History in Your Parks!

Those looking to get outside and enjoy the weather will find an extra dose of history this spring in the Rocky Point section of Hartshorne Woods Park, Highlands. The WWII era Battery Lewis has a new permanent walk-through exhibit inside the subterranean installment, which once housed two 16-inch guns that helped protect New York Harbor.

Battery Lewis will have an Open House on Saturday, May 19 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Dedication Ceremony originally scheduled for this date has been postponed due to inclement weather until Saturday, June 16 at 10 a.m. The exhibit will remain open Thursday-Sunday, May 24 through October from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The exhibit features interpretive panels, replica shells, and an impressive a 16-inch gun barrel mounted on a concrete pedestal to give visitors a sense of size and space. The barrel on display at the park was mounted on the USS New Jersey during WWII.

The Army constructed the Navesink Military Reservation in 1942 as part of the Modernization Program for the Harbor Defenses of the Continental U.S. While Battery Lewis is the only 16-inch gun battery in the state of New Jersey, similar batteries can be found, in varying conditions, in many coastal areas throughout the United States; from Battery Townsley in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco to Battery Harris at Fort Tilton, New York. The Navesink Military Reservation was listed as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.

For more information about military history in the park visit the Hartshorne Woods Park page.